A global study carried out by Aptar Beauty + Home has revealed how beauty consumers are responding to the health crisis. The results have shown that packaging developments going forward need to focus on three key areas: hygiene, e-commerce, and sustainability.
How have lockdown, retail store closures, and the fear of contagion altered consumers' expectations of their beauty products since the onset of the health crisis? To better understand these shifts in consumer behavior, in October 2020, dispensing specialist Aptar Beauty + Home undertook a prospective study in China, the US, Brazil, and France in partnership with French consulting firm H2.
The study revealed four consumer profiles: the Unphased, the Survivors, the Reinventors, and the Anxious. The Unphased (sic) have basically felt no impact from the pandemic; they are most common in China (44% of those polled) and represent less than a quarter of the sample group in the three other countries surveyed. The Survivors are distinguished by their capacity to adapt, changing brands if necessary and even turning to homemade products as a way of reducing their spend. This group is most common in France (28%) and Brazil (24%).
The Reinventors are open to innovation to a point that they could be considered ‘disrupters’. “For example, this is the group that wants to see new types of touchless testers in stores,” explains Marie Jacquemin, Consumer Insights Manager at Aptar. “They also want electronic beauty devices for treatment and makeup, solutions that bring the beauty salon into the home.” The Reinventors represent a high proportion of consumers in Brazil (31%), the US (30%), and France (25%), but only 14% of Chinese consumers.
Finally, the Anxious tend to adopt new behaviors in a bid for self-protection: buying disinfecting products or opting for online purchases with delivery, for example. Of the four categories, the Anxious saw the most growth between June and October, when the two phases of the study were carried out. Their numbers are growing in every region, except Brazil, where the proportion has stabilized at a relatively high 31%. They have doubled in China, to reach 30%, and they represent 25% of the population in the US and France, compared to 15% and 17% respectively measured in the first phase.
“Three major trends underline consumer expectations: hygiene, which is new, and online sales and environmental awareness, which have taken on renewed importance. On the one hand, e-commerce reduces human contact, but on the other, consumers are realizing that the frequency of these zoonotic diseases is likely to increase if we don’t preserve the planet. Each profile has varying degrees of environmental awareness: it’s low among the Anxious group, who are focused on product effectiveness and worry that ‘green’ products are less effective,” notes Jacquemin. Aptar has already identified new avenues for innovation, including more eco-friendly packaging and samples designed for e-commerce that create a better testing experience at home.
The supplier will carry out a third phase of the study in several months, when vaccination campaigns have really gotten underway, to evaluate additional behavioral changes in response to the “new normal.”